The Ed Waller Stories: Book One - Algeria Here I Come

Chapter Fifteen: The Last One In Is a Rotten Egg

I was awakened from my slumber by someone touching me, "Dad, it's almost ten o'clock, and we are supposed to go meet with the Captain on the bridge.  What is a bridge and where is it?  Why would there be a bridge on a cruise ship?"

I looked at Allie and he was serious, "Alexander, on a ship the bridge is the area where the Captain and his staff make sure that the ship is going to where we are supposed to go safely.  I'm guessing it might be on deck just below us, and that's what we see when we are looking over the railing on of the veranda because the officers are there looking at the instruments."

We were walking into the cabin from the veranda as Albert was entering the cabin.  When he saw us he started to apologize. "I'm sorry gentlemen; I didn't realize that you were here.  I just had your dinner apparel pressed for tonight.  Daniel is making sure that your shoes are shined so they dazzle everyone's eyes."

Allie frowned, "Albert, we told you that you should just come in if the 'Do Not Disturb' sign is not on the door.  How do we get to the bridge?  We have to go meet the Captain there."

Albert smiled, "Allie, if you will allow me time to place these tuxedos in your wardrobes, I will escort you there via the short cut."

Albert took us to the service stairway and there was an elevator.  He motioned for us to get on, and we went down one floor.  He had us go to the left two steps and there was a big sign.  'Controlled Access Area'.

Albert pushed a buzzer and the door was opened.  A young officer looked at us, "You must be the Waller/Safi party.  The Captain is expecting you.  Won't you please come in?  Thanks for bringing them, Albert."

Captain Brower walked up to us and shook our hands, "A nice mess you gentlemen have gotten us into.  The home office is beside themselves now that they have found out you are aboard.  Seriously, gentlemen, we are concerned for your safety as well as the safety of all of the other passengers.  Let's go sit in the conference room where we can talk and you can meet some of the people who will be watching out for you."

After the introductions of the other major officers and the security chief, the Captain announced, "We should be safe for today since it is a day at sea and there are no indications of any possible unwanted visitors being on board.  We really don't think that when we stop in Copenhagen, there should be a problem, but we ask that you be with a large group if you leave the ship.  The dock areas are well patrolled.  If the people who are after you make a move, it will probably come while we are in one of the other Baltic ports."

Allie looked at the Captain, "Sir, how many people will be joining the cruise in Copenhagen besides Mr. and Mrs. Thomas?"

"Very good question, Allie.  As of now, we have not been advised  that anyone other the Thomases and their older daughter and two other passengers will be joining the cruise in Copenhagen, and they have been thoroughly checked for security purposes."

Allie wasn't finished, "I know that everyone who enters the ship has to go through the metal detector, but what if someone was able to get to one of the crew members or other guests and pay them some money to hurt or kill Mr. Waller.  How could you stop it?  Perhaps one of chefs could put poison in his … our food, or perhaps someone could throw a weapon onto the promenade deck to someone.  Perhaps it would be best if we just got off, so no one else gets hurt."

The Captain stood, "Allie, you worry too much.  Come on, I'll have Pietro show you how to drive this ship while I talk to Mr. Waller and your brother."

We watched through the windows as the Captain took Allie to one of the young officers who was at one of the positions.  We couldn't hear what was being said, but Allie seemed as if he was enjoying what he was doing.  He was talking to the young officer as the Captain returned to the room where were seated.  He shook his head, "That sure is one sharp young man."

The Captain pulled a message out of his pocket, "This came in just before you arrived.  I think it would be best to keep the details from Allie.  He is already upset enough."

He handed me the message.

"Mr. Waller,

We have obtained information that indicates the terrorists know that you are on the Paradise and will most likely make an attempt on your life when you get to Stockholm

We will be arriving in Copenhagen tomorrow, so we can be in the adjoining stateroom next to yours for the remainder of your trip. 

We were going to consider the possibility that you and the Safis should depart the ship and fly directly home, but we, along with the CIA, have decided that might not be a wise move.  The United States Homeland Security Agency has been advised of what is happening and are willing to cooperate anyway they can, as is your F.B.I.

All of the governments of the countries where you will be making stops have been alerted to the situation and are just as eager as we are to make sure that no harm comes to you or any of the other passengers and crew.

If you get off the ship in Copenhagen, please make sure you are with a large group of people.  The terrorists can't afford to antagonize too many people, or so we hope.

We'll see you in Copenhagen.

General Khalid and Colonel Amir

I handed the note to Brahim so he could read it, "Captain Brower, how many people know the contents of this message?"

Captain Brower nodded his head, "The Chief Communications officer received the message via our secure communication system and brought it directly to me.  I have shared the contents with the other officers in the room because I felt it was imperative that they know the seriousness of the threat to not only the three of you but all of the others on board."

I stood, "Thank you for taking the time to see us.  I apologize if we have caused any undue stress for you or anyone.  We certainly never meant to endanger anyone.  All of a sudden, we were whisked out of Algeria for our own safety, and now we have placed approximately 3000 people in danger."

We shook hands with the staff who were in the meeting and went to collect Allie. 

Allie looked up at the Captain, "Sir, thank you for having Mister Pietro explain how you navigate the ship using all of these fancy programs and pieces of equipment.  It's a good thing that you have some backup systems, because I wouldn't want to have to use an oar to make this huge ship move through the water as they did in the olden days."

The Captain started to laugh, "Me either.  I'll see you for dinner tonight.  It's good to see that you won't have to be wearing that sling so you can have some real food."

Allie being who he was, hugged the Captain, "Thanks for reminding me that it's time to eat.  I probably won't be able to get a decent peanut butter and jelly sandwich on board this ship because all the chefs know about is fancy foods."

The officers who heard Allie comment started to laugh.  Pietro snickered, "Allie, I have some peanut butter and grape jelly in my cabin, I'll send it to your cabin with some fresh bread."

"Thanks Mister Pietro, I would appreciate that, but I really would prefer orange marmalade or strawberry jam.  Thanks for everything, we'll see you around the ship."

As the Captain walked us to the entrance, "You've got a live one there.  Take good care of him.  He's a wonderful young man.  Why don't you take the service elevator up to your suite?  I'm sure it's difficult for Brahim to manipulate going up the steps just yet."

When we got to the suite, the message light was blinking on the phone and Allie went to see who had called.

"Hey Allie, it's John.  We're on the Lido Deck watching the girls go by.  Why don't you and your Dad and brother join us here for lunch?  Granddad says you can swim, so maybe we can swim for a while this afternoon before we hit the game room."

After Allie hung up, "Dad, can we go meet the guys for lunch and may I go swimming after lunch?  What's a game room anyway?"

I looked at Allie and snickered, "Yes, yes and I don't know.  You'll have to find out what a game room is and tell me."

Allie looked at the coffee table in the sitting room and there was an envelope addressed to us.  He handed it to me and I shook my head, "I'm too tired to read it, Why don't you read it to us?"

Allie started to read,

Dear Messrs. Edward Waller, Brahim Safi and Alexander Safi,

You are very cordially invited to Captain Brower's welcoming reception in the Theatre at 6:30.  You have been invited to be his guests at his table for dinner at 7:30.

Stephen Brower,

Captain, S. S. Paradise

Allie made a detour to the bathroom so Brahim and I did likewise.  While we were in the bathroom, Brahim practically was crying, "Ed, I'm so scared about what's happening."

I hugged him, "Bra, we need to put on a happy face for Allie.  I'm scared too, but everyone is trying to take care of us.  Everything will be fine."

When we got to the sitting room, Allie was standing there, "Well, what took you so long?  Come on, let's get going or John and Jim will think we aren't coming."

We made our way to Lido Deck, and John and Jim spotted us and approached us.  John started, "Let's get our lunch before the mob arrives and takes all the dining spaces.  It's a really nice day and it would be a great day to sit and eat on the back veranda."

It took Allie and Brahim quite a while to decide what they wanted to eat but when they got their food, John and Jim led us to the back outside to a table with an umbrella that had six chairs.  The waiter in the area had taken our trays after he had set Allie's food on the table for him.  I'll be right back with the Roy Rodgers with two orange slices and two cherries.  Mr. Waller and Mr. Safi what would you like to drink."

I looked at the young man, "I would be happy with a nice glass of water, thank you."

Brahim nodded that he would like the same.

We had just started to eat when we were approached by an older gentleman with snow white hair, "Might an old man join you for lunch, so I don't have to eat alone."

Allie looked up from his lunch, "Sir, I don't see any old men.  Let me check under the table."

Allie got up from his seat, "I'm Allie Safi Waller.  These are my two friends John and Jim Thomas."  He pointed at me, "That's my Dad, Ed. Waller and the brute sitting beside him is my brother, Brahim."

He shook the gentleman's hand, "Do you have a name?"

The gentleman smiled, "I'm Darryl, the Radio Rancher."

That caught John's attention, "Does that mean you own a ranch where you raise radios?"

The gentleman started to laugh, "Not exactly."

Our conversation was interrupted by a good looking couple.   The gentleman spoke for the two of them, "Good afternoon, Dr. Roberts.  I see you have some handsome people to keep you company.  I know John and Jim, but I don't know the other three friends."

Allie looked at me and I couldn't tell what he was thinking, but he spoke up, "Excuse me sir, but aren't you the Cruise Director, Alan something?"

The gentleman nodded, "Yes, but who are you, Mr. Allie Safi Waller.  This is my wife Becky."

Allie had to have the word, "Well I am glad to know there some is hope for the children in the family when you decide to have any children."

Everyone was laughing, "Allie, I call for a truce.  Mr. Safi and Mr. Waller, you might want put a muzzle on your son and brother.  I may just have to feed him to the sharks if he's not nice to us.  We need to go.  See you in the theatre at two, Dr. Robinson.  Allie I'll get even when you least expect it."

Allie was undaunted, "Dr. Radio Rancher, what are you going to be doing in the theatre at two o'clock?  Is it something we shouldn't miss?"

"I'm just going to be talking about the history and sites that are going to be available on our visit to Copenhagen tomorrow and provide a little history of the area and country.  You might not find it too interesting."

As we were finishing our lunches, the Captain walked up to the table.  Dr. Roberts, are you going to able to join us for dinner tonight?"

Dr. Roberts nodded, "Capt Brower, I wouldn't miss this opportunity to dine at the your table for the world.  This is my thirtieth something cruise and I've never been invited to eat at the Captain's table before.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to go get ready for my

presentation."

After Dr. Roberts had disappeared, Allie asked, "Dad, may I go hear what The Radio Rancher is going to talk about."

He looked at Jim and John, "We should probably hear what he might recommend for us to do in Copenhagen.  I've never been there or even read about it.  We can always swim after his talk, and if he's really boring we can just leave."

The boys both agreed and we went to the theatre.  We were some of the first people to arrive so the boys took us to a seat right in front of the speaker's podium.

At precisely two o'clock, Alan, the cruise director, appeared, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are fortunate to have a distinguished speaker with us who is an expert in the Baltic area.  He will be providing us insights into his extensive knowledge of the area and perhaps give you some ideas what you might like to see and where you might like to visit and shop.  Let's welcome, Dr. Darryl Roberts, AKA the Radio Rancher."

I watched the boys and they were listening to what Dr. Roberts was saying especially Allie.  After approximately fifty minutes.  Dr. Roberts announced, "We have time for a couple of questions before they kick us out of here so they can have the Bingo games."

Allie stood and raised his hand, and Dr. Roberts acknowledged him, "Allie, do you have a question?"

"Yes Sir, if I understood what you were saying during your presentation, I thought I heard you say that Copenhagen was your favorite city in the area.  If so, why?"

Dr. Roberts took a drink of water, "Allie, I amend that to say my favorite of the big cities in Scandinavia and the Baltic area.  I find Copenhagen to be a warm and inviting city with a pleasant blend of the old and the new.  The people are very open and friendly.  I am not saying that the people in the other countries aren't friendly but it takes a little longer to get to know them.  Allie, did that answer your question."

Thanks Dr. Roberts, I guess we'll just have to decide after we finish the cruise.  We can have a vote to see what our personal observations were.  I have one other question."

"Go ahead, Allie."

"Is there anything in Copenhagen that would interest Jim, John and me other than seeing the sights and the Little Mermaid."

Dr. Roberts nodded, "Having met the three of you I would suggest that a visit to Tivioli Gardens be the first priority on your list of things to see and do."

The personal dialogue was interrupted by Alan, the Cruise Director.  I'm sorry we must close the dialogue between Dr. Roberts and Mr. Allie Safi so we can get ready for Bingo.  Dr. Roberts will be back the day after tomorrow to tell us about some interesting things we might find in Sweden.  Let's give him a big hand."

The rest of us followed Allie to the stage, "Dr. Roberts, I didn't mean to be rude.  I just wanted to know why you said what you did."

Dr. Roberts hugged Allie, "Son, I wasn't the least bit offended.  In fact I was flattered that anyone as young as you would be listening to what an old man like me had to say.  Now, how about if I meet you in the pool area so we can soak in the whirlpool before we go to tea?"

Alli looked at Jim and John and they just shrugged their shoulders.  Allie challenged, "The last one there is a rotten egg."

I thought to myself, 'Brahim must have found Allie an excellent English teacher if he knew that term.  He talks more like an American than most Americans talk.'

We went to our cabin and changed into our swim suits and we met the others in the main pool area.  One of the whirlpools was empty so we all crawled in except for Brahim.  He put is feet in but that was all because he still had the bandage on his thigh area.

Dr. Roberts soon had enough of the whirpool and suggested, "Why don't we ask one of the waiters to bring us some things from the tea, so we don't have to go change clothes again.  We can sit over there under the runway out of the sun now that people are beginning to leave."

He called one of the waiters over, "Hector, would you please go get a selection of treats from the tea selection so we can eat them out here?  I'd like a nice cup of hot lemon tea."

Hector looked at us, "So that will be one cup of hot lemon tea, three Roy Rodgers with double cherries and two slices of orange.  What might I bring you Mr. Waller and Mr. Safi?"

I looked at the young man, "We'll have two cups of lemon tea also, thank you."

He was back practically before he left and deposited our drinks and two huge plates of different kinds of snacks.  By the time we left, the three ten year olds garbage machines had devoured the food.  I looked at the clock, "I think it might be advisable if we went to get ready for dinner.  The captain did request that we attend the welcoming reception."

Editor's Notes:

It seems to me that a lot of people are going to be in place to protect our guys.  

I am quite interested in getting to know this Doctor Roberts.  He seems quite fascinating.  

He spoke of Copenhagen. Whenever I hear that name it brings back some of my favourite childhood memories. 

When I was in third grade, and believe me that was a long time ago, I had a wonderful teacher who's name was Miss Boone. I haven't thought about her for years. She told us that she was distantly related to some guy named Danial, but she said he  was dead before she was born. She also disclaimed any connection with Pat Boon.  I remember she looked rather old to my, then, very young eyes, but I always loved that lady.  She introduced me, and our class, to Broadway Musicals and Movie music.

I suspect that some of you know where this is going.  Danny Kaye starred in a movie called Hans Christian Anderson, which had a wonderful musical score. Danny Kaye played fast and loose with the character of Hans Christian Anderson, but it was a wonderful move. It was the first movie that I ever saw in a theater.  Miss Boone brought the record to class for us to listen to and we all enjoyed the music very much, but one of my all time favourite songs came from that movie; it was called 'Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen', http://youtube.com/watch?v=eEwdroXuL8A and as I read this chapter, the song started playing in my mind.  Thank you, E Walk, for reminding me of that beautiful song, and by extension, you brought back several more as well, like Thumbalina, http://youtube.com/watch?v=SJHls-r_Pp0 Inch Worm, http://youtube.com/watch?v=fXi3bjKowJU and of course the theme songhttp://youtube.com/watch?v=KJzwC_8f6nA  plus several others. 

I wonder how many other people remember that song or that movie even. 

I think I have said enough except for saying that I want more chapters.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher